My daughter started K this year, and we have two other kids who will follow her there. We are *thrilled*. A few things that stand out: the teaching staff is absolutely excellent (teacher organized a play date with all the families at the start of the year, she is constantly writing home and very involved with the families, the kids adore her, and my daughter is excited to read and do math); the administration is responsive, present, proactive and inspiring; the school resources are just remarkable, from a kiln to speech therapists to reading specialists to outdoor science instruction (with a dedicated science and garden teacher!); the physical facility is attractive and clean; the community is remarkably diverse, which is especially important to my family (my kids are black); after school program is just super (yoga, singing, ballet, lots of crafts, good snacks, warm care providers); parental involvement is outstanding (90% of parents in our class gave money, many are frequently in the classroom and helped with a maintenance day); community resources are very cool (two live theatre performances at a children's theatre, field trips to natural science and fine arts museums, etc.); discipline is warm and proactive and generally the community of families is inclusive and friendly. I am thrilled to be at this school and just so thankful it is nine years! I also really like that the K-2 campus is separate from the 3-8 -- it's nice to have a nurturing and small campus for the young kids. Thank you Claire Lilienthal.
AT least in K it is just a requirement to read five books a week and for the kids to write them down and draw a picture. There is a formal discussion including everyone right now (led by Principal) about appropriate level.
Two kids at CL starting in the mid 2000. Lower grades were very good but in middle school falls apart. CL can't afford any secondary language (incl Korean), formal art, music or science lab. PTA does raises lot of money to support great track and field and outdoor ed program. 6th grade math and science is taught by an instructors who my children, and myself, found to be an incomprehensible rambler (she is on sabbatical this year). Both 7th and 8th grade science and math are taught by two individuals who are disorganized, and unable to control a class room. Efforts to work with them to publish the homework on line was dismissed. The administration could not compel them to do it, even with the availability of good online HW and grade tracking tool. Use of tutors with science and math home schooling is the accepted norm which explain the test scores. My kids are not prepared for high school math/science. I am suspect of the high scores. Consider CL for grade school but be prepared to look for a middle school that provides those "extras" and a wider and more competent teacher base with a more responsive administration. In hindsight, I regret staying at CL.
I was a student at Claire Lilienthal for all of the years (K-8). I really enjoyed going to the school until I hit 3rd grade. The teachers are very good at helping the kids hit the standard, as well as helping students who need extra help. As a student who generally had no problem understanding the concepts they were trying to teach, there was nothing to do. The teachers insist on teaching everything for the remedial students, but have no experience teaching students who accel in a given class. The school tends to focus most on the students who need help, along with the students who present behavioral problems. As a student who had neither issue, I coasted through the system, but was never challenged. That being said, it is a public school, and one of the better ones in San Francisco. The PTA does a tremendous job of fundraising, we have many all school events, and the teachers make an effort to connect to the students.